The power of blogging

At the beginning of this month I wrote an article entitled ‘Get ahead of the competition by blogging! The Power of Blogging Part I’.

Following on from this, I’ve achieved some stunning search engine results via the regular blog posts, aka news stories, that I write on my own websites. What I mean by this is that I routinely see my news posts get to the top of Google, Bing and Yahoo – sometimes in a matter of hours. The record was 3 hours from publishing a post to it being at the top of Google for my desired search phrases.

"3 hours from publishing a post to it being at the top of Google for my desired search phrases!"

How my blog post made it to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing in less than 2 days

Today I thought I’d share an example of how blogging (news stories) can also work for you.

In my ‘other life’ I’m a photographer (yes I do sell photos!). This morning, long before I started work, I was up and out taking photos of a sunflower field in Dorset. At 12:04 I wrote up my sunflower story and added it as blog post on my website. The post is only a couple of paragraphs of text and a photo » you can see it here «

Google discovered my post 15 minutes after I wrote it…

By 12:22 ‘Googlebot’ had arrived on my website, found my sunflower post and was studying it – yes, only about 15 minutes later. This is good news, as Google will scan through the content and then add my story to its database. For those that don’t know, Googlebot is the name of the software the search giant uses to collect documents from the web to build a searchable index for the Google Search engine.

Okay, all well and good, but of course I could be lying. Is there any proof that Google was looking at that page on my website? Well, it’s here:-

Click on the image above to see Googlebot in action.

The little green circle on the left shows that Googlebot is actively looking at the page, and “Last URL” is the web address that corresponds to my photography blog post. The rest is mostly self-explanatory, but if not don’t worry – it’s really not that important!

What will be interesting is to see how long it takes for ‘sunflower field Dorset 2017’ to appear in Google’s search results. ‘Sunflower field Dorset 2017’ is the main phrase I’ve decided I want to target in search engines, although the sunflower story is also likely to appear under similar search terms. For example, if someone searches for, say, ‘fields of sunflowers dorset’, it’s likely to show up for that phrase. This may take a bit longer to achieve than a web search where the ‘2017’ has been added in.

Adding ‘2017’ to the search makes it a bit more relevant; I’m working on the basis that if someone is searching for sunflowers in Dorset they want to see sunflowers that are around now, not some from, say, 2011.

The same goes for other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo! (these two largely use the same database of websites to give results when you look something up in either of them). They will also soon pick up on my blog post, and I’ve seen some stunning search results with them too.

 

Yahoo finds my post after 1.5 hours…

At 1:30pm today, ‘Slurp’ (Yahoo Search’s robot for crawling and indexing web page information) arrived on my photography website and examined the sunflower post. That’s only an hour and a half after I wrote and published my post.

The next day…

UPDATE 19th July at 18:50: This evening I found that Google are showing my sunflower post for the search terms ‘sunflower field dorset’ and also ‘sunflower field dorset 2017’.

From the screenshots, below, you can see that the actual post isn’t showing yet, but the red arrows show that Google has noted the post in their search index.

The green arrows show other posts from my site that are temporarily also showing under the sunflower search. This happens because, for now, Google is mixing up the new post with other posts I’ve created in the past, but past experience shows this usually sorts itself out in a very short while.

Google screenshot of sunflower search
Google screenshot of sunflower search

Less than two days after I wrote my post it’s at the top of Google …

This morning (20th July) and the sunflower story is number 1 and 2 in Page 1 of Google search results, and number 1 of page 1 in Bing and Yahoo. That’s less than two days after I wrote and published my post.

Check out the screenshots below:

Sunflower blog post at top of Google
Sunflower blog post at top of Google
Sunflower blog post at top of Yahoo search results

Perseverance pays off!

This all sounds simple and in some ways it is, but there is a bit of an art to getting your blog posts found at the top of Google and other search engines. Perseverance and regularity of writing are, of course, very important. Some search topics are also very competitive (i.e. lots of websites all talking about the same thing) and so you need to allow longer for them to achieve good results. This could be weeks, months, or occasionally years. Sometimes a post will never achieve great rankings, but that’s life.

It’s not just about words, add some images too

It’s also a good idea to have an image or photo(s) with your article, as otherwise it’s all very boring. Additionally, your photo might show up in image search results whereas your website might not. That means it’s another way to appear at the top of search results, when someone searches for images.

Google and other search engines love new website content!

At the end of the day all search engines crave new content to add to their databases. Not just any old content, of course, but information that is well written and relevant to the theme of your web site.

Keeping your site up-to-date really matters and I can’t stress that point enough. Give search engines a reason to keep returning to your website and then human visitors will follow.

 

To sum up, I hope this proves there’s an easy way to often get to the top of Google without paying loads of money. All it takes is a bit of time and effort every once in a while, but this is proof that it can be done!
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